The Rain.

by Honor

I am thinking about rain - about the rain in Africa .... the way it builds up all day, until by mid-afternoon the air is electric, and your head and heart are pounding, and the sky hangs low with deep charcoal cloud, slashed through by streaks of brilliant sunlight here and there. And then quite suddenly the sky begins to fall to earth. Great globular drops splatter onto the hot soil. At first each drop leaves a mark, distinctly etching the ground where it splattered when it fell - the water sizzles off into vapour and the air grows heavier still. A slight chill ... it heralds the rain proper. Down it comes, as if poured from some gigantic bucket .... not in drops but in one great curtain of water draining from above.

Soon leaves, twigs, seed pods, insects, even branches float past your feet on a rust-red stream that carries pebbles and rocks to scour at the top-soil. Where minutes before there was only dust and desperation, there is water evrywhere. The air clears.... the smell of new-wet earth is all pervasive, filling the lungs with life again .... where there was silence there is a steady roar.

And then it is gone. As it is slow and unwilling to fall, so it quick and anxious to be gone. A rainbow arcs the horizon, the sky lifts, and the sun returns to re-claim her own. The world is fresh and new. The streams churn on a while, grinding yearly ever more deeply into their chosen course. They falter slowly, and then die.

Evening sets in. The sky is dressed in apricot, lilac, indigo, orange and vermillion. The night falls .... another deep, black-suede African night, full of the silence that is all the sounds of the bush.

BD's storm photo

Another photo taken between Headlands and Macheke
BD's photos of the gathering storm, taken between Headlands and Macheke